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Navy S Marine Corps Medical News 


July 21, 2000 

Navy and Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) is 
a weekly compendium of news and information 
contributed by commands throughout the Navy medical 
department. Information contained in MEDNEWS stories 
is not necessarily endorsed by Navy Bureau of 
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) , nor should it be 
considered official Navy policy. 

The BUMED distributes MEDNEWS to Sailors and 
Marines, their families, civilian employees and 
retired Navy and Marine Corps families. Further 
distribution is highly encouraged. 

Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after 
a Navy medical professional 's name to show 
affiliation: MC - Medical Corps (physician) ; DC - 
Dental Corps; NC - Nurse Corps; MSC - Medical Service 
Corps (clinicians, researchers and administrative 
managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and Dental 
Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of 
their names. 


Contents for this week's MEDNEWS: 

- FMF Warfare Specialist Program approved 

- Pain management clinic offers alternatives to surgery 

- Bethesda docs provide sight in Yemen 

- Operational fleet can learn medical regulating 

- GW corpsmen put "honor" on display 

- TRICARE question and answer 

- Anthrax question and answer 

- Healthwatch: Skin cancer - protection through early detection 



Headline: FMF Warfare Specialist Program approved 
From the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 

WASHINGTON - The Navy Enlisted Fleet Marine 
Force (FMF) Warfare Specialist Program was approved 
by the Chief of Naval Operations July 14. Over 9,100 
Sailors are eligible for this new designation. 

According to Medical Force Master Chief HMCM 
Mark R. Weldon (SW) , Sailors serving with the Marine 
Corps face unique personal and professional 
challenges. To excel in this endeavor is an 
accomplishment that will now be recognized on a level 

with other Navy warfare communities. The Navy 
Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist 
insignia will be an outward recognition of this 
important and unique duty, he added. 

"While assigned to the Fleet Marine Force, 
Sailors not only master the art and science of a 
demanding style of warfare, but also learn the skills 
of an entirely separate branch of the armed forces, " 
Weldon said. "Whether one is assigned to a Marine 
Division, a Force Service Support Group, or a Marine 
Air Wing, Navy personnel must know how Marines fight, 
the weapons they use, and the techniques used to 
employ them effectively against harsh resistance . " 

In order to be eligible for the program, Sailors 
must be permanently assigned to and serve a minimum 
of 12 months accumulated with an FMF unit on Type 2 
or 4 sea duty. Commanding officers of personnel on 12 
month unaccompanied Type 4 sea duty may waive up to 
30 days of the time eligibility . Augmented personnel 
mobilized to an FMF unit in direct support of the 
units ' primary missions are eligible provided they 
are deployed for a minimum of 90 consecutive days. 
Sailors must also satisfactorily complete the 
Physical Fitness Assessment . 

Enlisted Selected Reservists must serve a 
minimum of 24 months in a Naval Reserve FMF Unit with 
satisfactory drill attendance. Additionally, they 
must complete two periods of Marine Corps Unit Annual 
Training or an equivalent Active Duty Special Work. 

Candidates for the program must demonstrate 
effective leadership and directing ability, and have 
received at least a "promotable" recommendation 
during their most recent reporting period. They must 
complete the PQS standard for initial qualification 
as well as display general knowledge of the commands ' 
overall organization, mission, assets, employment, 
combat systems, and USMC battle skills techniques, 
and basic equipment through a written exam, hands on 
demonstration of knowledge, and an oral examination. 

Those wearing the Fleet Marine Force Ribbon are 
still entitled to wear it, but must complete the PQS 
and other qualifications to be entitled to wear the 
new insignia. 

Amplifying information, copies of the OPNAV 
instruction and PQS sheets will be available in the 
near future. 


Headline: Pain management clinic offers alternatives 
to surgery 

By J02 Luke Johnson, NMC Portsmouth 

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Naval Medical Center 
Portsmouth, Pain Management Clinic is the facility 
that many people who suffer chronic pain turn to for 

help. The clinic specializes in services that try to 
help relieve the pain without an invasive procedure. 

This clinic offers the first line of defense for 
those who do not want surgery or a last stand for 
those that have gone through surgery already. 

With an average of about 30 patients a day, the 
staff attacks the chronic pain from herniated disc, 
failed back surgery syndrome and cancer. 

"The clinic takes a multi-disciplinary approach 
to treating patients, " said Cmdr. Walter Kidwell, 
head of the Pain Management Clinic. This approach 
combines different elements of care. 

"First we want to try and eliminate or help 
relieve the pain of the patient, " said Kidwell. "We 
will inject local anesthetics, muscle relaxants or 
steroids for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes or 
use medications such as anti-inflammatories. 
Narcotics are also used in certain cases. " 

For chronic back pain sufferers, there is 
another method of pain relief available. 

"What we do is implant small medical devices in 
the body, " Kidwell said. "These devices deliver 
small amounts of medication to the spinal area that 
helps ease the pain. " This procedure is designed to 
help the patient tolerate the pain so they can lead 
as much of a normal life as possible . 

A large part of combating the pain is the 
patient ' s mental state. "The stronger the mind of 
the patient, the more likely they are to be able to 
cope with the pain. In fact, depression can make the 
pain worse, " Kidwell said. In order to combat the 
dangers associated with depression, the clinic offers 
services that can help strengthen the mind. 

"Alternative therapy such as hypnosis, yoga, 
meditation and relaxation tapes are used to help 
patients who seek this form of therapy. A lot of 
people from different backgrounds have different 
beliefs and ideas as to what is best for them, " said 
Kidwell . 

"We are one of the largest facilities around, 
and people like the treatment options and 
professionalism we provide. That ' s our goal, to make 
their lives as pain free as possible, " said HM3 Amy 
Gorman, a staff member at the clinic. 


Headline: Bethesda docs provide sight in Yemen 
By JOl (SW) F. R. Keely, NNMC Bethesda 

Around the world today, thousands of land mines 
wait in silent ambush. Although news of land mines 
no longer makes the daily headlines, the 
international efforts to clear the mine fields and 
provide aid to the victims continues. 

Yemen is all too familiar with the crippling 

effects of landmines. As a result of a civil war 
that took place years ago, landmines have taken the 
eyesight and disfigured many civilians . 

At the request of Uniformed Services University 
for Health Sciences, Capt . Steven Kerrick, MC, and 
Cmdr. Matthew Nutaitis, MC, along with three corpsmen 
from National Naval Medical Center Bethesda responded 
to the urgent need for eye surgeons to train and 
teach the doctors of Yemen. 

"Our mission was to help land mine victims, and 
we saw a lot of them. The people flooded in when the 
word got out that American doctors were there to help 
the vision impaired, " said HM3 Mathew Legas. "They 
waited patiently for hours. " 

The team saw 118 patients and completed 26 
operations . 

"It was a busy two weeks with both lectures and 
surgeries which stretched the local staff to work far 
more hours each day than their normal work schedule 
typically included, " Nutaitis said. "There were so 
many patients we were just unable to see. " 

Plans are underway to return again for another 
training visit, taking more supplies and 
ophthalmology equipment to help modernize eye care in 
Yemen . 


Headline: Operational fleet can learn medical 

From the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 

WASHINGTON - Using the peacetime dividend to 
train and educate Sailors about fleet operations is a 
vital part of fulfilling the mission of Navy 
Medicine . 

One such opportunity for training exists with 
the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) Medical 
Regulatory Course. 

The course is offered primarily to those 
attached to operational billets or who are expected 
to augment such billets with the Marines or shipboard 
as part of embarked staff or ship's company. 

One of the most popular exercises of the course 
involves a three-hour Crisis Action Planning scenario 
in which students medically plan for a non-combatant 
evacuation operation involving 500 American citizens 
trapped in a hostile city. 

"Students use what they learn about evacuation 
planning, lift assets, interaction with other 
services and dealing with key line and staff officers 
of the amphibious squadron, ship's company and marine 
expeditionary unit to provide a plan for medically 
treating combatant and non-combatant casualties, " 
said course instructor It. Yousef Aboul-Enein. 

"Many of us from Naval Hospital Jacksonville are 

augmenting the USS NASSAU (LHA-4) and require this 
course, " said Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Rose, MSC. 

To bring this course to your command contact Lt . 
Tom Phillips , MSC at the Bureau of Medicine and 
Surgery, 202-762-3803/3807 DSN 762. 


Headline: GW Corpsmen put "Honor" on display 

Williams, Francis J. Pierce, William R. Charette and 
Robert Stanley are probably unfamiliar to most 
Sailors in the Navy. But for those with whom they 
served, these men and the remarkable sacrifices they 
made will live forever in memory. They are four of 
the 17 hospital corpsmen whose pictures and Medal of 
Honor citations hang on the bulkheads of USS GEORGE 
WASHINGTON'S medical ward. 

A few of these corpsmen actually lived to 
receive America's highest military honor. Most did 
not. Sailors who stop by the ward to view the 17 
accounts of gallantry will realize how incredible, 
almost surreal, each narrative is. Corpsmen aboard 
the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON say they want other Sailors 
to understand that the corpsmen who came before them 
did more than take temperatures and hand out aspirin. 

"A lot of people think we have an easy job, " 
said HM1 (AW) Richard D.B. Joyner. "But the men whose 
pictures hang on these bulkheads prove that we do 
what we are trained to do. " 

The valor and dedication described on the 
bulkhead represents the honor, courage and commitment 
dating back to the 19th century, through both world 
wars to today. 

"Many naval medical facilities and other ships 
in the Navy have these same plaques hanging in their 
spaces, " Joyner said. "We wanted to do the same and 
honor their contributions . " 

During a dedication ceremony held in the main 
medical ward passageway, the "Medal of Honor Hall" 
came to life as the plaques were permanently secured 
to the bulkheads. 

It is on those bulkheads where patients or passers by 
can learn why hospital corpsmen are so proud of their 
heritage . 


Headline: TRICARE question and answer 

Question: What is the function of the nurse 

Answer: Nurse advisors are available in most 
regions, by phone, to provide advice and assistance 
that will enhance patient decision making about their 
health care. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 

days a week, and can discuss treatment alternatives, 
symptoms, and illness prevention or can advise 
whether a situation warrants immediate medical 
attention. Any TRICARE-eligible person can use the 
service of the nurse advisor. 


Headline: Anthrax question and answer 

Question: Can the anthrax vaccine be taken by 
military members who are pregnant ? What about men 
who get vaccinated? Should they delay child-bearing? 

Answer: Anthrax vaccine should not be given to 
women who are pregnant or who think they may be 
pregnant . Vaccinations are routinely deferred until 
after then pregnancy, unless immunity is needed 
during pregnancy . Tetanus, meningococcal , hepatitis 
B, and influenza vaccines , for example, are 
specifically recommended for susceptible women during 
their pregnancy. As with other vaccines in the U.S., 
specific studies on possible reproductive side 
effects from use of anthrax vaccine have not been 
performed. However, there has been no evidence of 
infertility, miscarriages , or other reproductive 
problems with the use of inactivated vaccines. 

Because the anthrax vaccine is a sterile, cell- 
free (filtered) bacterial vaccine, it is non- 
infectious and is not expected to cause any harm to 
the fetus. If the anthrax vaccine is inadvertently 
given to a pregnant woman, no adverse pregnancy 
outcome or fetal harm is expected. If a pregnant 
woman is known to have been exposed to anthrax, she 
will be given the vaccine as a potential life-saving 
measure . 

Women who believe that they may be pregnant 
should inform their health-care provider before 
vaccination. Once pregnancy is confirmed, anthrax 
vaccinations will be deferred until the woman is no 
longer pregnant. Once a woman is no longer pregnant, 
deferred anthrax vaccination will resume. A woman can 
safely become pregnant any time after vaccination 
that she wishes. 

Reference: Advisory Committee on Immunization 
Practices. General recommendations on immunization. 
Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 1994; 
volume 43 (No. RR-1) : pages 20-21; 

http : //www. cdc . gov /epo/mmwr /preview /mmwrhtml/ 0002502 7 

For all the same reasons mentioned above, there 
is no reason for a man to delay fathering a child 
after vaccination. A man can safely father a child 
any time after vaccination that he wishes. 


Headline: Healthwatch: Skin Cancer - protection 

through early detection 

From USNH Yokosuka Public Affairs 

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Skin cancer is the most common 
form of cancer in the United States, with more than 
one million new cases diagnosed in the last year. 
Malignant melanoma is the most common cancer killer 
among adults between the ages of 20 and 30. 

Fortunately, most skin cancers, including 
melanoma, can be cured if detected early. It is 
recommended that you examine your skin regularly . 
Examine your entire body, including your back, your 
scalp, the soles of your feet, between your toes, and 
the palms of your hands. 

Certain individuals are at even higher risk than 
others. While malignant melanoma can strike anyone, 
people of light complexions are at a far greater risk 
than those with darker complexions. Other high risk 
factors that contribute to the development of 
malignant melanoma include fair skin, blonde or red 
hair, blue eyes, large or numerous moles, family 
history of melanoma, and excessive sun exposure in 
the first 10-15 years of life. 

If you see an unusual skin growth or strange 
mole, call your Primary Care Manager for an 
appointment. If necessary, your health care provider 
will then refer you to a specialist . 

Protect your skin with sunscreen (SPF-15 or 
higher) , by staying out of the sun during peak hours 
of the day, and by wearing loose and light-colored 
clothing and a protective hat . 

Early detection offers the best prevention and 
protection from skin cancer. 


Comments about and ideas for MEDNEWS are welcome . 
Story submissions are encouraged. Contact the 
MEDNEWS editor, at email:; 
telephone 202-762-3218, (DSN) 762, or fax 202-762-